8 May 2013

Jiminy Cricket and 45 South II (Farr One Tonners)

This post follows on from my earlier article on the Farr 1104 with two custom race versions of the famous 36 foot design - Jiminy Cricket which was built for Stu Brentnall, and 45 South II, built for Graeme Woodroffe and a follow up to his successful Quarter Tonner 45 South.

Jiminy Cricket under construction at Alexander Boats
Jiminy Cricket was built by Alexander Boats and launched in time for the 1975 Dunhill Cup series - an international regatta that followed the Southern Cross Cup and the Hobart to Auckland race and which, it was hoped, would become a new fixture on the international ocean racing scene. Against an international line up Jiminy Cricket reinforced the impressive credentials of the Farr One Tonner (Design 51) that had been displayed by Prospect of Ponsonby in Australia, and won the regatta with some ease.
Jiminy Cricket racing in the Hauraki Gulf in the 1976 One Ton Cup trials (photo Farr Yacht Design)
Jiminy Cricket in light airs on Auckland Harbour
45 South II (originally launched as The Number) was built in fibreglass and was slightly lighter than her sistership. She achieved the same sail area as other versions built in Europe by placement of the engine being located further for'ard, just behind the mast. 45 South II featured a special deck and cockpit layout, with an open stern and an unusual raised deck area behind the companionway. 
45 South II (as The Number) during the gale lashed long offshore race in the 1976 One Ton Cup trials
By the time of the 1976 New Zealand One Ton Nationals (doubling as trials for the One Ton Cup) the Farr 1104s were prolific and filled the top four places. 45 South II with her lighter displacement and larger sail area was by far the best light air performer in the fleet, and won the three inshore races and the series overall, while Jiminy Cricket finished a close second by winning the two offshore races. So impressive were the performances of the two boats that a decision was made to send both yachts to the 1976 One Ton Cup, to be held in Marseilles, France.

Following her selection, rapid changes were made to the trim of Jiminy Cricket, including shifting the engine forward and installing a taller rig, although her rated sail area remained less than that of 45 South II.

As with 45 South at the Quarter Ton Cup the year before, the New Zealand yachts were something of an anomaly amongst the 43 yachts that arrived in Marseilles, being lighter, shorter and with smaller sail plans than most of their competitors. The first race, held in a good breeze, suited the two Farr boats perfectly, with 45 South II taking the gun and Jiminy Cricket finishing second.
Close up view of the stern sections and cockpit layout of 45 South II in Marseilles
45 South II tacks around the windward mark in the first race after a port tack approach, Jiminy Cricket comes in on starboard to the far left
45 South II (left) to leeward and ahead of Jiminy Cricket 
Lighter winds for following races put a stop to the Kiwi onslaught, however, and the abandonment of the second race, when the New Zealand duo finished with solid results, proved to be a disaster. Jiminy Cricket sailed poorly to finish well down the fleet to effectively scuttle any chances she had to win the regatta. By this stage the US yacht Resolute Salmon, a big heavy centreboarder designed by Britton Chance, had gone on to win the second race (both the abandoned version and the resail) and the third, the middle distance offshore race, to look unassailable.  
45 South II on a tight reach during the 1976 One Ton Cup
45 South II in light airs during the 1976 One Ton Cup, with the German yacht Sabina to windward (photo Jonathan Eastland)
45 South II and Jiminy Cricket finished together in the third race (eighth and ninth), and then took out first and second in the fourth. Jiminy Cricket then showed what might have been, by winning the long offshore race finale through a combination of great speed when the wind picked up, and excellent navigation.  
45 South II broad reaching with spinnaker and staysail set, 1976 One Ton Cup
Jiminy Cricket in fresh conditions during the 1976 One Ton Cup
45 South II (Farr Yacht Design)
In the end, 45 South II finished fourth overall, just ahead of Jiminy Cricket in fifth, and Resolute Salmon, although 20th in the last race, won the Cup to lead a clean sweep of the podium places by the US, with Ted Turner's Peterson design Pied Piper second and the Scott Kaufman design America Jane III third. Two other Farr One Tonners, Solent Saracen from Britain and Puma IV from Sweden, were less successful than their Kiwi counterparts, finishing 17th and 27th overall, both having their best result in the fourth race (finishing sixth and seventh).

It is not known what happened to Jiminy Cricket as she did not return to New Zealand. 45 South II did not return either, but I have recently heard from her current German owner who bought 45 South II in 1998 and maintains her in excellent condition. He has recently fitted her with a carbon mast, this provided a weight saving of about 50lbs, with further savings through replacement of the nitronic rod stays with carbon.
Above and below - 45 South II sailing in Germany (the pink stripe is now blue)

The 1104 design further evolved with Country Boy which was commissioned by Clyde Colson and went on to win the New Zealand One Ton Nationals in early 1977. The ability of the Farr One Tonners in a breeze was further underscored however with an emphatic win by Piccolo (Australia) and second placing by Rockie (New Zealand) in the storm tossed 1976 Sydney-Hobart race. 
Country Boy, winner of the 1977 New Zealand One Ton Nationals
While the design was outclassed later that year by the new centreboarders in the One Ton Cup series,  the US yacht Sweet Okole won her class in the 1977 SORC. The design was particularly hard hit by changes to the IOR aimed at light displacement and wide sterns, but Sweet Okole was able to overcome her increased rating in mostly downwind conditions to win the 1981 Transpac race.
Sweet Okole sweeps to victory during the 1981 Transpac


  1. Jiminy Cricket for sale in Sweden after a rather heavy handed cruising conversion.

  2. Hi, do you know the current whereabouts of Jimmy Cricket please?